‘Blue Shirt Day’ as Myanmar remembers political prisoners

Remembering the political prisoners - The late Win Tin. Photo: Nyein Chan Naing/EPA

Activists are calling on people to wear blue shirts today in memory of the death of former political prisoner Win Tin and to remember political prisoners who remain in Myanmar jails.

April 21 is the anniversary of the death of Win Tin, a former political prisoner and a hero of Myanmar’s struggle for democracy and human rights. 

Win Tin, a journalist and founding member of the National League for Democracy, was one of Myanmar’s longest serving political prisoners, describing his time in jail from 1989 until 2008 as living in hell. On his release he refused to hand over his blue prison shirt, and pledged to wear a blue shirt every day until all political prisoners were released. He carried on wearing a blue shirt until his death.

Although the National League for Democracy-led government recently released about three dozen political prisoners in a Thingyan New Year amnesty, dozens of political prisoners reportedly remain in jail, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma). 

Some are in jail for protesting for their rights, some for criticising the government or the military, and some just because of their ethnicity or religion.

Activists express concern that little pressure has been put on the NLD-led government to free remaining political prisoners.

NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi was held under house arrest during the period of military rule and a number of government members previously suffered as political prisoners.

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